April 2019 Principal's Message

posted Apr 11, 2019, 4:35 PM by PFC Secretary   [ updated Apr 11, 2019, 5:35 PM by PFC Webmaster ]

Hello Walnut Acres Families,

We are busily preparing for our typically packed calendar as we complete our last trimester of the 2019-20 school year. I hope you enjoyed some quality family time over the Spring break and that you and your children are returning refreshed for a variety of activities with us. There are some beloved routines coming up this month with a couple of unique opportunities that I hope will entice you to participate! Here’s the scoop…


Input for 2019-20

Student Information Forms orGreen sheets” (named for the traditional color of the form) are now available on our website under Current News on the homepage and in the office starting 4/10/19. These optional forms are available to parents to share the strengths and educational needs of your child with school staff as we place children in 2019-20 classes. We do not accept specific teacher requests, but we try to honor insights that parents offer regarding a child’s learning style or emotional needs.  ‘Green sheets’ will be accepted through 5/1/19.

We are also posting the “non-return” forms to the Current News on the homepage by 4/15/19. (This form will also be available in the office.) If you will NOT be rejoining us at Walnut Acres for the 2019-20 school year, please let us know by completing and returning the form as soon as possible. Your courtesy will allow us to better predict and accurately plan for attendance needs in the new school year!

Pizza Lunch Winners

Our Second Chance Breakfast Pilot was a big success, so our school breakfasts will continue at all recesses each day except Wednesday. You will recall that in March there was a week-long Second Chance Breakfast Participation Contest. Our 2nd grade students won the prize for the most students participating in the program, so all 2nd graders received a slice of pizza on Thursday, 4/11/19, at lunch!

Supporting Our Young Environmentalists

Our recycle club is helping to sponsor a showing of the documentary “Straws” at Northgate Little Theater on Friday, 4/12/19, at 7:30 p.m. The movie is a call for enhanced environmental efforts, particularly in calling for an end to plastic straw use. I am proud of the students at our school and throughout the Northgate feeder pattern who are working to educate us all as they seek to protect our earth! I hope you see you there if your schedule allows!


PFC Meeting

The Tuesday, 4/16/19, PFC meeting at 7:00 p.m. in the library, is a very important event as the new 2019-20 budget will be presented and the PFC Board Nominations slate will be discussed. Join the PFC Executive Committee as they facilitate a discussion about leadership and funding for the upcoming school year. This is the time to share your voice!


New Principal Input Sought

My supervisor, José Espinoza, Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education, would like to meet with all community members interested in sharing input pertinent to the selection of a new Walnut Acres principal. I hope that many folks will take advantage of this opportunity when it is scheduled this month. Whether you approved of my leadership or hope for a change in style, format, or vision, this is the time to present your concerns, your hopes, and your insights! Please attend this meeting designed to capture your thinking. Mr. Espinoza will also meet with staff to collect their perspectives on 4/18/19.

Our Last Fundraiser of the Year

Our annual Walk-A-Thon will be held on Friday, 4/19/19. This is always a fun event that promotes health, builds community, and promises smiles for all, while providing the last opportunity to raise funds to cover 2018-19 budget commitments. You are welcome to be with us to enjoy the experience. Be prepared to cheer for our young and eager runners and walkers!


The Walk-A-Thon coordinators are offering a "family fun run" this Friday, 4/12/19, from 7:15-7:45 a.m.  Parents and other family members are invited to join in some preparatory pre-run practice.


State Testing Begins

On 4/22/19 our 3rd-5th grade students will begin taking the CAASPP (California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress) English Language Arts and Math exams. Students in 5th will also take the Science exam. Each grade level team will share with you their specific test dates.


While we do not want the state testing process to be anxiety-provoking for students, we do ask that you encourage students to give their best effort to the state assessments. That means our students will need a good night’s rest, a healthy breakfast, and an encouraging hug before arriving at school on test days—but of course, that’s the morning routine we hope for every day! So, please don’t put any pressure on students at home and we will use the mantra, “Do your best, and forget the rest” at school.


With a common-sense approach to state testing, we will likely get a valuable measure of what children know and how they can apply their learning. As a staff, we will also get further data to analyze what we are teaching well and what we still need to do to support our learners. We realize that CAASPP test data is only one measure of student achievement, so we compile the CAASPP results with Running Records information, iReady data, teacher exams, and daily student oral and written work to get a more comprehensive picture of each child as a learner.


Volunteer Appreciation Event

Each year we take the opportunity to thank all our volunteers for your dedication, tenacity, and diligence in supporting Walnut Acres Elementary School. Our celebration will be part of our Trustworthiness Sing-out on Wednesday, 4/24/19, at 8:00 a.m. and again at 8:30ish a.m. Every parent, grandparent, or friend who has ever volunteered in a classroom, on a field trip, or from home; who worked in some capacity to raise money for school programs or personnel; or who opened car doors at drop-off or student thermoses at lunch: You are invited to be recognized and officially thanked by the staff, teachers, and students of Walnut Acres. We hope you will join us as our community celebrates your spirit of volunteerism!


Celebrating Our Diversity

Our previously postponed, second annual International Festival will be held on Friday, 4/26/19, starting at 5:00 p.m. As you know, this event celebrates our ethnic diversity and serves as a reminder of our common humanity. Our teachers will introduce the Festival during the school day with a culminating cultural activity designed to enhance student participation as well as an understanding of International Festival goals.


Drawing on Earth Day

Thanks to the MDUSD Education Foundation, Mark Wagner, local artist, will be providing a unique assembly and chalk drawing experience for all Walnut Acres students on Monday, 4/29/19, during the school day. Each grade level will attend a 30-minute assembly to prepare them for their artistic endeavor and then take to the asphalt to create. For further information about our upcoming chalk art experience, check out Mr. Wagner’s website here.  


Teach Your Children Well

Thanks for your continued support to our learning community through your leadership and participation in Walnut Acres activities! Thank you especially for working in conjunction with us to help your child feel emotionally safe. As you know, a child’s sense of emotionally safety is depended upon the perception of a strong connection to parents and belief that the child is held in high esteem.  Or as expressed so articulately by author, William Martin, “You do not have to make your children into wonderful people, you just have to remind them that they are wonderful people. If you do this consistently from the day they are born they will believe it easily.”    



Colleen Dowd

Your lucky principal